The third rendezvous of the cycle of workshops dedicated to the correct management of financial flows in the 8 participating countries

 

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The third rendezvous of the cycle of workshops designed and fostered by the Managing Authority of the IPA Adriatic CBC Programme on “Preventing and countering irregularities and fraud in European Territorial Cooperation Programmes” was held on Wednesday, 6 July in Tirana, Albania.

The workshops aim at disseminating, throughout the 8 countries participating in the IPA Adriatic CBC Programme – Italy, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Slovenia, Serbia – the culture of correct financial management of European Territorial Cooperation programmes, through a joint analysis on the methodology for preventing irregularities and fraud in the territories across EU and non-EU countries.

The agenda envisaged the welcome speeches by Mr. Aldrin Dalipi, President of the Regional Council of Tirana, Eralda Çani, Deputy Minister for European Integration of Albania, Majlinda Bregu, Chief of the Parliamentary Commission for European Integration and Minister of Integration, Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana, and Alexander Troppmann, EU Delegation in Albania.

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Following, the addresses by Paola Di Salvatore, Managing Authority of the IPA Adriatic CBC Programme, Luljeta Nano, General Secretary of the Albanian Supreme Audit Institution, Germana Di Falco, expert in EU policies and programmes to the European Commission, Lieut. Col. Ugo Liberatore, Unit of Guardia di Finanza for the prevention of fraud against the EU at the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers provided a technical perspective. During the concluding debate, the Albanian lead partners of some of the projects funded under the IPA Adriatic CBC Programme, as well as the Vice-Presidents of the Regional Councils of Shkoder and Korçe, Maxhid Cungu e Ana Verushi respectively, took the floor.

“This workshop has been of relevance – outlined Paola Di Salvatore, the Managing Authority of the IPA Adriatic CBC Programme – to share also with Albania, a pre-accession country participating in 70 out of 102 projects funded by the IPA Adriatic CBC Programme with 93 beneficiaries, a technical-administrative pathway aimed at correctly and quickly reporting on the amount of 12 million euros that remains of a total assigned amount of 21 million euros: and this in consideration of the fact that Albania has demonstrated to be a very virtuous example, seeing that no evidence of irregularities has been reported so far.”

At the end of the workshop, the Managing Authority Paola Di Salvatore was received by Bujar Leskaj, Chair of the Audit State Institution and of the Anti-corruption Authority. The institutional meeting focussed on strengthening the control system on the use of European public funds.

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Abstracts from the speeches:

The President of the Regional Council of Tirana, Aldrin Dalipi, highlighted the strong relationship with Italy and Abruzzo and stated how “IPA Adriatic is the most relevant programme for Albania with resources amounting to 21 million euros; Albania, which is a pre-accession country, has been performing judiciary and territorial administrative reforms to reduce the number of regions, thus allowing an increasingly more effective allocation of EU funds, also in the light of 2014-2020 programming that assigns nearly 650 million euros to our country.”

Both Majlinda Bregu, Chief of the Parliamentary Commission for European Integration and Minister of Integration, and the Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj put much emphasis on the efficacy and concreteness of the results. In particular, the latter has started a “city-planning revolution” of the Albanian capital city in less than a year of activities: “Through the correct management of European funds, we will pursue not only that investments focus on the territory, so that the new Albanian generations can build their future in their own country, but also that the European Union’s credibility increases and the message that being in Europe is a value conveys to the citizens.”

Germana Di Falco, expert in EU policies and programmes to the European Commission and Lieutenant Col. Ugo Liberatore, Unit of Guardia di Finanza for the prevention of fraud against the EU – who provided data on the certified irregularities (84%) and fraud (16%) amounting to approximately 890 million euros last year with an obvious reference to all European programmes – highlighted how fundamental training and informing all beneficiaries about the procedures, technologies and financial reporting methods as provided by EU regulations can be, in order to prevent and thus to counter irregularities and fraud.

What is IPA ADRIATIC CBC? IPA is the acronym of Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, which is the programme aimed at assisting candidate countries or potential candidates countries to EU accession. The IPA Adriatic CBC (Cross-Border Cooperation) Programme was approved in 2008, so as to support cross-border cooperation among 4 candidate countries or potential candidate countries – namely Croatia (which became a EU member in 2013), Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro – and the EU member states neighbouring the Adriatic sea (Greece, Italy, Slovenia). Serbia, with the independence of Montenegro, participates in the programme under the phasing-out condition.The mandate of Managing Authority of the IPA Adriatic CBC Programme is conferred to the Abruzzo Region.The IPA Adriatic CBC Programme has been provided with a budget amounting to over 243 million euros and has financed 102 projects.